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June 25, 2013

Cooperstown graduate Pohl steps up game

The Daily Star

---- — Staff Report

The chances of seeing Phil Pohl playing a New York-Penn League game this summer are slipping.

The Vermont Lake Monsters opened their 2013 season June 17 without Pohl, a 2008 Cooperstown graduate selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 28th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft.

That’s because Pohl has spent the last month as the starting catcher for the Stockton Ports, Oakland’s affiliate in the Single-A Advanced California League.

So Pohl, a 2012 Clemson University graduate, may actually be closer to Double-A baseball with the Midland RockHounds of Texas than to short-season Single-A baseball in Vermont.

After he was drafted last spring, Pohl played three games for the Lake Monsters before transferring to rookie ball in the Arizona Fall League. He completed his first professional season with a .301 batting average for the AZL Athletics, going 34-for-113 with three home runs, six doubles and two triples.

That could be why Pohl started this season with the Beloit Snappers of the Single-A Midwest League. He spent three games there, too, serving as the back-up catcher to Bruce Maxwell before getting recalled to extended spring training in Arizona.

The A’s drafted Maxwell in the second round last year. Maxwell went on to become a Midwest League All-Star. He ranks 14th among the A’s top-20 prospects.

But Pohl got the call to start behind the plate for the Ports, who have received five home runs, four doubles and a .243 batting average from him since May.

Pohl may be on the move yet again as minor leaguers often move up and down during their careers.

For now, Pohl is spending his days in Stockton, the central California town that some baseball historians believe the fictional Mudville in the famous baseball poem “Casey at the Bat” was based on.

But there’s still a chance that friends and family could catch him playing for the Lake Monsters in the relatively nearby short-season Single-A parks of the Tri-City ValleyCats in Troy or the Auburn Doubledays.

Of course, Pohl could just as easily be playing for the Double-A RockHounds of the Texas League in the near future.

SOFTBALLOHS grad reaches final

Oneonta High graduate Erin Wolstenholme helped Cortland State to a runner-up finish in the Division III Softball World Series this past season.

Sophomore shortstop Wolstenholme doubled and scored a run in the May 20 championship game, but seventh-ranked Tufts University earned a 6-5 victory to cap a 4-0 finish in the double-elimination tournament for its first national title.

Wolstenholme batted .325 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs for the Red Dragons (35-17), who went 3-2 in the D-III Softball World Series en route to the program’s best finish at the tournament.

Wolstenholme’s 2013 accolades include D-III All-Northeast Region Third Team and SUNY Athletic Conference Second Team honors.